by Boots Hart, CAP

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Two Popes: Francis I and Benedict XVI


(Left) Pope Benedict XVI during a May 2007 visit to Sao Paulo, Brazil (photo credit: Fabio Pozzebom, Agencia Brasil) - (Right) Pope Francis in March 2013 (courtesy of the Presidency of the Nation of Argentina)

To start with, a thought which came to me after the papal election: when Pope Benedict XVI announced his decision to step down, Jupiter was conjunct Aldebaran in Gemini. To be precise here, Pope Benedict stepped down just before Jupiter hit Aldebaran (though granted, Jupiter was well within orb of said fixed star). But that Jupiter was in an exact conjunction with Aldebaran when, on March 13th, the College of Cardinals elected Pope Francis.

And that is – without metaphysical question - a celestial statement about Papal integrity, inclusive of the College of Cardinals (in the sense of their being a channel or conduit for greater universal function) voting for there to be greater integrity in the Catholic Church and in work/works done by the Catholic Church.

But beyond that of course, is the fact that Pope Benedict hasn’t died. And though he’s reportedly going into total seclusion to pursue religious studies, no one would be surprised if these two Popes arrange here and there to meet up for tea and pastries.

Two living popes. How very Gemini, don’t you think?

And if they do have tea now and again, who could blame them? Being Pope is a calling, yes. But it’s probably also a pretty tough job. So maybe the Vatican chefs can come up with a new pastry for such occasions. They could call them popeovers – as in I’m having the other Pope over for tea.

Jokes aside (no, I couldn’t resist) it’s far more than that. In the difference of their orientations, Benedict and Francis express Gemini’s two very famous stars, Castor and Pollux.

Maybe you remember their story.

It’s the mortal versus immortal part of this being referred to. Castor was mortal, Pollux immortal. Pope Benedict is very focused on spiritual (immortal) doctrine, while Pope Francis experiences spirituality by living a very ‘mortal among mortals’ human life. In spite of Vatican traditions, Pope Francis is already demonstrating that he really feels part of the human, mortal condition. And that he’s willing to touch and talk to and be touched by every kind of fellow human.

One really simple way to see this in the horoscopes of these two men is to look at them merely in abstract, in terms of emphasis. So here’s the chart of Pope Benedict…

Pope Benedict XVI (born: Joseph Alois Ratzinger)
April 16 1927 -  4:05 a.m. (CET/-1) - Marktl, Germany

…and here’s Pope Francis:

Pope Francis I (born:  Jorge Mario Bergoglio)
December 17, 1936 - 9:00 p.m. (ADT/+3) - Buenos Aires, Argentina

If you just look at the groupings of planets in their charts, you’ll see Pope Benedict has a whole group of planets in the first quadrant of the chart (houses one, two and three) – including his Sun. When we see these kinds of  chart ‘weightings’ we know this is where a lot of that person’s energy ‘lives.’ So Pope Benedict ‘feels’ himself being alive and living on this Earth.

His 'work’ – as in all charts – is generally typified by Saturn. And Pope Benedict’s Saturn is in Sagittarius, the sign of doctrine and religion (the ‘rules’ and ‘laws’ of religion) and in the 9th house. So it’s not shocking that he’s into doctrine. According to his horoscope, he needs to “elevate” (9th house) his understanding. And maybe that’s all about having such a clear concept of life and existence here in the material, Earthly realm.

Pope Francis on the other hand, has a large grouping of planets (again, including his Sun) in the 6th house, a house all about the work to be done as part of life. Where Pope Benedict’s Sun is in Aries (consciousness of Self) Pope Francis’ Sun is in Sagittarius – which as a comparison gives us another way to think about this ‘Gemini pairing’ of these two living popes. Maybe Pope Benedict focuses on the ideas of immortal doctrine because he has such a consciousness of being so very mortal. Maybe his drive is to educate his immortal (Pollux) self because his (Castor) mortal self is so evident to him. Against this, Pope Francis’ Sagittarius Sun in the 6th house enables him to see the Sagittarian possibilities for mankind, and how only through everyday honest labor which shirks not the untidy or ‘dirtied’ parts of life (6th house) can we hope to approach that ideal.

Gemini is in eternal opposition to Sagittarius: they complete each other with Gemini being the innately personal side of the question (my thoughts, my understanding, my choice) and Sagittarius always being about application and how well things work. And when they don't work, why that is and what we need to learn or do so that things are right. And though to be sure on the Gemini side Castor and Pollux represent many versions of the Gemini ‘search’ for (Sagittarius) how to make life work, when we speak of religion, then it becomes clear that this polarity is about the (Sagittarian) ‘teachings’ which have come down to us to (Gemini) learn…and just as vitally, a process in which we choose to learn (Gemini) to be people better able to function successfully (Sagittarius) in this world.

  Constellation Gemini, with fixed stars
Castor and Pollux as the 'head' of each twin

In this quest, the 6th house – the natural ‘t-square’ point we have to ‘get over’ or ‘get past’ in our life is represented by the 6th house. Naturally ‘colored’ by Virgoan ideas, the sign on the 6th house and where Virgo falls in our charts tell us how we will (or won’t)  go about making this effort.

In Pope Benedict’s chart, the 6th house is Leo – a fiery sign all about the ability to ‘see how things could be’ which often tests us through our willingness to deal with our native and very mortal disappointment when real life doesn’t life up to that ideal.

In Pope Benedict’s chart, Leo on the 6th is his seeing that he has work to do to become more of the ideal – that last part being greatly about the Sun being ruler of Leo. And since Pope Benedict’s Sun is intercepted in the first house of self or awareness of one’s self, that interception (with all  the rest of his Aries signatures, including Uranus) we know he feels he has work to do. That he has to change on the inside, as pictured by the intercepted Aries Sun and Uranus) so that he can become more of the (Leo 6th house) servant of the Divine and of better service in this world.

That Pope Benedict is a man more inclined to scripture than living in a small apartment and taking the bus to work is also pretty clear in this chart. Spirituality being Pisces in nature, his 14 Pisces rising conjunct Achernar is a heartfelt symbol of ‘continuous challenges or continuing to challenge one’s self’ which with Neptune, as outcome ruler of Pisces being in the 6th gives us a pretty ‘hands off’ quality in the work realm. Add to that how this Neptune is in Leo and we know that there is an esoteric quality to the work Benedict would do, and with this 24 Leo Neptune in a near-perfect trine to the Sun with Regulus positioned at 29 Leo and exactly conjunct Psyche (“the mind”) Pope Benedict sees the work of the human mind as a form of work in this world which indeed brings us closer to Spirit.

Of course there is an aspect of this Leo Neptune in the 6th (plus Regulus/Psyche) which isn’t so very pretty. One of the meanings of the 6th house is ‘employees.’ And when you’re the head of any organization (in this case, the Vatican) those are your employees. That same ‘hands off’ and see with the Leo Neptune would, whether it’s financial issues with regards to the operations of the Vatican or the world-wide rash of sex abuse among priests be something which Pope Benedict would have a problem with. And on this level, his Psyche/Regulus (particularly ruled by an intercepted Aries Sun in the 1st) gives us a clarity about his inability to punish others in the ‘but there for the Grace of God go I’ sense.

Survivors of abuse – whether perpetrated by priests or otherwise are not likely to feel as generous about the matter. But that which seemed to get echoed by various Church representatives and Cardinals, namely that forgiveness should be universal, would seem very much in keeping with Pope Benedict’s chart. And if we believe that great spiritual maxim that everything happens as it should and that unbeknownst to us the universe is unfolding as it should then such things have happened in Pope Benedict's life to test and educate him and that as difficult as it may seem, those who have been challenged and those who have perpetrated such atrocities have each been exposed to their own 'hellish purgatory' through which they too will ultimately learn.

Or not learn, yes.

In comparison, Pope Francis is a man very different from Pope Benedict. His challenges are shaped differently. With his chart laid out with such a strong 6th house ‘doing the work in this world’ structure, it’s also interesting to note how the signs Gemini and Sagittarius are laid across his 12th/6th house axis. With his Sun squarely between the North Node (“what I should do”) and the Galactic Center (‘that which we must give in order to receive or BE received in and by this world’…and theoretically, the next) Pope Francis is pictured as a man well able to feel the presence of Spirit in his everyday world.

In fact, that may well be where he feels it most. In the work (and works) he does, he feels himself testing his own ability to do that which is truly needed to make this world a better, more (6th house) healthy and functional world. How to do that, and how not to be overwhelmed by what it will take to even begin to do that is more the nature of Pope Francis' problem.

If you're someone who theorizes like Pope Benedict, it would be one thing - you think the problem through then lay out a plan. But if you're Pope Francis and your every instinct is to do the work...? How do you do it all? How do you chose what is most important? How do you get past the ache in your heart and your certainty of understanding that so much else needs and is crying out to be done?

Gemini on the 12th house, with Chiron conjunct Bellatrix (‘the difficult idea’) and the ease of the South Node pictures Francis as a man who finds it entirely possible to think (Gemini) about difficult things and life’s most difficult challenges (12th house), so many of which are painfully challenging. Chiron (‘our personal vulnerabilities’) being conjunct the North Node speak of Pope Francis as a man willing not to just own up to his own issues, but those of others.

Nebula IC-443, which is in Gemini, went supernova somewhere between
5,000 and 10,000 years ago, leaving us this rather spectacular image
(photo credit: NASA-JPL, Caltech, WISE team, December 2010)

On one hand this is a very ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ sort of configuration – and I’m sure Pope Francis often thinks is something close to these terms. And with the 12th house being the house not just of spirituality but of fantasies and secrets which originate in emotionality, Pope Francis is likely to think through the mortal-immortal (Castor-Pollux) problems of celibacy in the priesthood, women in the priesthood and the causes of sexual abuse particularly as that pertains to the Church not just as a body of teachings, but as a life choice.

It’s also worth noting that the Mercury which rules this 12th house is in Capricorn, the primal sign of Saturn’s rulership. This being a man whose Saturn is in Pisces and the 8th house, Pope Francis’ mission, his life’s work is all about being with people and understanding the greatness of Creation through the vastness of human life and variable experience.

Pope Francis will feel for us all, just as with his Saturn in opposition to his Virgo Neptune he hopes we will feel for him and the limits imposed on him by his mortality.

He honors that. His Neptune in the 2nd house conjunct Sisyphus tells us he sees vindictiveness as a flaw, even when on those occasions it rises in himself as a ‘killing of self’ through the frailty of mortality. This goes to Virgo as a sign which is often critical in the ‘criticism’ sense when its greater worth is self-regulation. Wherever we see Virgo, we see this temptation to do injury to our efforts (or even being) at some level through “pointing” criticism at others or trying to shifting our responsibility to someone for something we have or haven't done.

Virgo embodies critical thinking, yes. But the positive here isn't about anything which is injurious on the emotional level, which would be very much the negative side of Pisces, Virgo’s polarity sign. Virgo asks that we ‘critique the process’ and often our own work. That's where the critical energy is supposed to be aimed - not at ourselves as shame, not at others as blame. It's supposed to go into perfecting the process and making it more effective, efficient and clearly defined.

With Virgo – a Mercury ruled sign – on Pope Francis’ 3rd house of mentality and at a degree (27 Virgo) high enough to indicate he is in consistent interaction and always willing to hear others and the thoughts they may have on his thoughts, Pope Francis is not described in his horoscope as strict in the domineering sense.
But with a Pisces Saturn opposition Virgo Neptune, this is a man willing to draw the Saturn line for those who are being marginalized.

This is also the description of Pope Francis’ evident humility and his preference for “everyday” life. 

Wherever we see Neptune in a chart we see some sort of lack of ego or ego-involvement. In Pope Benedict’s chart, the most unfortunate part of this would be Neptune’s position in Leo and that showing up in the 6th house as not just the willful (Leo) acts of Vatican employees (the Curia, et al) but also priests as that has impacted the ‘health’ of various children, teens, and indeed, the ‘health’ of the Catholic Church.

With Pope Francis’ Neptune being in Virgo, we get a totally different notice. This combination has Neptune speaking to Virgoan work which nourishes his sense of satisfaction and at some level the human spirit through ‘selfless’ (Neptune) ‘works’ (Virgo).

The whole idea of work is further emphasized by Leo being on the cusp of Pope Francis’ 2nd house. Leo being a ‘visionary’ fire sign which is always challenged by that difference between the ideal and the reality, to have the ruler of the 2nd positioned in the 6th gives Pope Francis the spirit do his very best.

But to finish up with this Gemini concept, which is really what I wanted to talk about today, we need to go back to Mercury. Mercury rules Pope Francis’ 12th and 3rd houses: the house of spirituality and feelings which connect us to others and to the All…and the house of mentality.

This man doesn't just think, he thinks about feelings. He will also not be afraid to speak with feeling or talk about his feelings - or the emotional difficulties of others in this world. He’s a man who will think through problems in private and discuss what it takes to make difficult choices in public.

This is the first of at least two or three posts on Pope Francis and I’m pretty sure that over the next few months you’ll see a couple of other posts on the astrology of Catholicism in a more general sense.

My apologies for how long its taken to get this far - which is to say, to this next post on Pope Francis. As in many of your lives I’m sure, a lot has been going on in mine. (You, me, Pope Francis, Pope Benedict, the Church…everyone has a lot of changes going on!) These posts do want writing, but they also evoke in me a desire to think them through...which may be the metaphysical reflection of the man whose chart I'm writing about.

Yes, such things do apply. When we like people because they inspire us to feel one way or we 'feel their essence' as a particular pro or con, if we check, that's always their chart connecting to ours - the synastry or astro- cartography between horoscopes.

So while I can't say I'm "like" Pope Francis or of his caliber at all, he has a very complex chart which is taking a lot of thinking through and which will take a lot of blog space to talk about. Which ultimately is why I've decided to share these thoughts in several posts.

Besides, there are ongoing things which need thinking through, too.  Apart from general life and books and such which need attending to, we’re also moving into ‘eclipse season.’ So though I might want to write ‘papal posts’ (as we might call them) my commitment to others things has to take priority. 

As a friend of mine put it to me: a girl only has so many words a day she can write. He’s right. And that’s my mortality showing.

And at some level, so it is with all of us.

The interior of Notre Dame d'Amiens, Somme, Picardie, France
(photo credit: Tango7174, September 2008)

So to close here, I think it’s important that we recognize that Pope Francis’ Descendant is at 10 Capricorn and that his Mercury – the ruler of his “Castor-Pollux Factor” and those 12th and 3rd houses (not to mention that touchingly vital Neptune in the 2nd) is at 11 Capricorn.

11 Capricorn is the degree that Pluto is in right now…Yes, with the Descendant being (among other things) the ‘stage’ from which we speak to others in the world, Pluto conjuncting Pope Francis’ Mercury is the obvious signal of his becoming Pope and the ‘spokesperson’ – the world leader and speaker for the Catholic Church.

Being Pope is this man’s life Purpose. That we know not just from Pluto rising up over the Pope’s 10 Capricorn Descendant as he was elected, and not just by 11 Capricorn being the degree at which Pluto will go retrograde at in a couple of weeks (i.e., during April).

We also know this because Alhena, the Star of Purpose, which though at 8 Cancer is also part of the constellation Gemini, and thus always bound up with the Gemini idea of choice and making life choices.

In Pope Francis' chart, Alhena is in the entirely potent position of being just behind Pope Francis’ 10 Cancer Ascendant. And with Alhena are MakeMake and Huya, two dwarf planets (which should make them as powerful as Pluto, remember) which emphasize teaching from what you have learned the hard way (Huya) and creating or ‘raising up’ something new or ‘anew’ (MakeMake) out of fertile waters.

Going back to the Pope’s Mercury, his Mercury is at 11 Capricorn, a degree which is known for keeping secrets and power which is ‘held in secret’ and used for the good of others…or sometimes, the ‘not so good’ of others. Lore suggests that this is one of the Capricorn degrees which very much depends on the state and status of Saturn as ruler of Capricorn, which takes us back to the Pope’s Saturn-opposition-Neptune, which so far we’ve seen him operate (along with transiting Pluto conjuncting Mercury) for doing as he thinks right, despite long-standing Vatican traditions.

Long-standing is a statement of time - Saturn is time. And 'traditions,' though often Cancer in the ‘cultural heritage’ sense are more of a Capricorn thing when you talk about the ‘traditions’ of pomp and ceremony and all such thinks of that ilk. And the Catholic Church is nothing if not long on pomp and ceremony!

But standing with this Capricorn Mercury is a trio which may explain a bit more about the Pope’s thinking – or at least his internal ‘alignment.’ Those points are Pholus, Scheherazade and House, all of which are also at 11 Capricorn and therefore “fused” and part of Pope Francis’ Mercury mentality.

Pholus is that little thing which can kill us…or, conversely which can save us. House is the feeling of ‘being at home with’ and Scheherazade is ‘the story of a life’ (or lifetime, or many lives).

Considering that the Saturn which rules this Mercury is in Pisces and conjunct fixed star Achernar, this would seem to conjugate as there are so many places where we can go astray, and hurt or harm ourselves or our cause. And yet, there are just as many by which we can find our way back to that which is good, which we know in our hearts and souls is worthwhile and worthy of the ongoing effort to make something better of ourselves, so that we can do better in this world, and by doing that, create a world which not only inspires the best in all mankind, but which comes closer to living up to the potential and intention of our Creator.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Embroidered Easter Eggs by master folk artist Inna Forostyuk
of the Luhansky region in the Ukrane (Qypchak, 2009)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hebe Goes Retrograde

by Francisco Javier Ramos y Albertos (1784)

About a week or so ago I got an email from someone who reads this blog. She wrote to ask me about an asteroid named Hebe, wondering what it meant specifically with regards to Hebe in Virgo. Here is part of what I wrote back:

Hebe would have entered Virgo (this time around) back around October 19, 2011.

The general idea of Hebe in Virgo would be two-fold. The first (and more obvious) form of Hebe in Virgo would be how doing service (or holding one's self to standards) in this world does more than help others - it helps us. The second would be about how the investing in doing the job well increases the benefits ultimately reached. 

Because she had offered the lovely and poetic idea of Hebe in Virgo as a 'perfect offering,' I added this:

I hesitate to use the word 'perfect' with Virgo as that would seem to encourage Virgoan over-focus.

The mythic Hebe is the servant to the gods of Olympus. It is Hebe who brings cups of ambrosia, that (apparently delicious) and highly regarded immortal draught which when consumed, endowed one with immortality and which apparently was brought to the gods whenever they wanted a bit of eternal drink.

Hebe is also regarded as an embodiment of youth, and as one of the attendants to Aphrodite (Venus) is part of the mythic Greek nexus about beauty.

Her mother is Hera (known to the Romans as Juno) which, seeing as both Hera and Juno are asteroids on their own has given us to understand that there are (at least) two different sides to the ‘mothering influence’ from which Hebe comes. Hera is the keeper of the hearth and more of the nurturing side of this duo where Juno is the organizer, the self-modulating and self-disciplining concept which keeps us on track. (Or doesn’t, depending!)

Interestingly, Hebe is the female version of Ganymede, an asteroid astrologer Alex Miller thinks of as being associated with male sexuality, and often male homosexuality. I can’t say I’ve seen a corresponding bent with regards to Hebe and lesbianism, but I have seen Hebe in various configurations which speak to how people of either gender deal with submissiveness as part of their sexual natures, or as a component of their ‘doing service’ (or just plain having to do what needs doing) in daily life.

As asteroids go, Hebe is quite a notable one. It’s the 5th brightest of all the asteroids in the main asteroid belt which falls in that big gap between the personal planets (in order: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth/Moon, Mars) and the generational or social/societal planets (Jupiter and Saturn). Hebe is also quite large – it’s mass is estimated to be one-half of one percent of the total asteroid mass which is out there.

(I know…when we talk about asteroids you hear me say such things fairly often. How can everything be that big? Well, what that’s really saying is how small a whole lot of those asteroids out there really are – and not just when compared to planets, but in comparison to each other!)

Hebe’s position in the asteroid belt tends to be ‘a bit on the inside.’ The belt being composed of a space which starts at 1.665 astronomical units from the Sun (Mars’ farthest distance from the Sun) and 4.95 astronomical units (Jupiter’s nearest approach to the Sun)…in all of this Hebe orbits our Sun at a distance which is at it’s nearest, 1.937 astronomical units and at it’s farthest, only 2.914 astronomical units.

Hebe's orbit
(diagram generated using JPL's Small Body Database 

So Hebe never goes more than half way out through that big giant ‘slot’ between the personal planets and the generational pair, a space we think of astrologically as containing all the things (asteroids) we have to deal with, learn about or learn to utilize while on the way to achieving our worldly and social/societal (Jupiter/Saturn) goals.

Thus in the personal sense, Hebe has to do with service to ourselves and the service that we do. And for that, evidently we nourish ourselves, our lives or our souls, however you want to phrase it.

And that fits, seeing as the mythical Hebe furnishes eternal nourishment …ambrosia, which we probably think of as ‘the fruits of our labor’ in the greater and lesser senses.

This becomes additionally interesting when we think of Hebe as one of Venus’ attendants. Yes, we could think of what we do as being all about what we get out of it…which would be the more baseline Venus concept. But Venus being really about the hinge which turns cause (what we put into something or how we present ourselves or what we do) into effect (our rewards of whatever kind)…that means that Hebe, as some form of ‘doing service’ is that part of the ‘personal aim’ which helps us reach our (Jupiter/Saturn) goals.

Who knew, right?

With an orbital period of 3.78 years, Hebe averages about three to four months in any given sign. And at the moment, it’s in Sagittarius, sign of learning, of law, of things and ideas which are foreign to each one of us, of education and of religion.

(A fine time to get a new Pope, right?)

Hebe entered Sagittarius on January 31st, 2013 – right around the time that Jupiter went retrograde and so much trouble was going on in our world. We weren’t thinking of others, we (as human beings) obviously haven’t learned to live with each other…or even ourselves!…and we seem to think everybody exists to serve our needs.

And that may be the Hebe point. Hebe will be in Sagittarius until November 17, 2013. And during that time, not only are people likely to be more demanding than usual (wanting others to serve their needs) but every sort of thing ‘put out there’ is going to be tested to see if it serves some purpose. And for the remaining months of Jupiter in Gemini, where we are perhaps going over the line or pushing too hard or saying too much (or not the right thing), where we may be speaking before we think and discovering what our limits are (and therefore what we need to learn in order to move ahead) as much through what doesn't work as what does...

That may be the Hebe point. Hebe in Sagittarius will be about what we can do which works for others and for us...and what may work only for one side and not the other.

To be frank here, my astrologer's guess is that we’re likely to see and learn a lot about human flaws and bad behavior of these next few months.

But let’s not get all gloomy here…once Hebe goes retrograde (at 10 Sagittarius) it will back up all the way to 24 Scorpio, and that’s an interesting span. First of all it suggests that between April 2nd (the date Hebe goes retrograde) and July 16th (when Hebe goes direct) this is a great time for trying things out and all sorts of research and ‘test models’ which will help us sort out what works from what doesn’t work – and why.

If you need some sort of personal ‘prep time’ for something yet to come, April through mid-July looks like a goodie. Why? Because Hebe in retrograde is all about helping ourselves. Or even helping ourselves help ourselves. So this may be a time when you do something about you…or when you get help in something you need to do about some situation in your life.

A bronze of Hebe by Robert Thomas in Birmingham, England
(photo credit: Elliott Brown, August 2009)

It’s all good. So long as you approach the subject with a reasonable amount of humility and an awareness that the real goal is the accomplishment to be reached down there a bit further along the road, a lot can get done.

10 Sagittarius is a degree which seems to confuse ability with genius, ‘ability’ being used here as the idea of the action verb which gets something done and genius being the internal vision or inspiration which gets the idea and sees how things could work (or how they might work) IF they were put into action.

The positive here lies in listening and absorbing what isn’t yet at the level where it serves your purposes or will carry you on to your goal (or goals, whatever they may be). Though you see the gap or the lack, to know that you are able to change things and able to make improvements – that’s your spark of genius, whether you recognize it or not. Sagittarius is a fire sign, so there’s lots of ‘envisioning’ which happens through whatever object passes through this sign. So now we’re seeing how we could make things better for others and how that could move us closer to our goals…maybe in terms of who we are as a human being, or maybe in terms of some worldly aim.

Whichever – both work. And they may work even better in your soul as a course of action to follow going forward if I tell you that the other end of this retrograde run (24 Scorpio) is a degree all about building our personal world and an internal ‘knowing’ how to deal with others so as to gain their support.

One more interesting item to note here: come the end of May there will be a second ‘eclipse season’ Lunar Eclipse. It will be positioned at 4 Sagittarius and happen on May 25th, exactly one month after the April 25 Lunar Eclipse at 5 Scorpio.

When that eclipse happens, Hebe will be at 2 Sagittarius, a sign that how we do things is of that moment and (particularly for anyone whose chart has a planet, node or axis point at 2-6 of any sign) germane to what happens then.

By and large, Lunar Eclipses are very emotional moments. Some people (those not very good with their feelings) will tend to create situations where someone else has to ‘own’ their emotions. But that’s not good for either one of you…and at this particular point in time (May 25th, I mean) you may actually come to understand why foisting your feelings off on others doesn’t work.

We’ll talk more about that then, of course. But for now, Hebe is about to go retrograde. Since it’s going retrograde on April 2nd, it’s ‘station window’ begins on March 31st and ends April 4th: any and all issues which happen during this time which bring to light the idea or issues of ‘service’ and what it means to serve others or feel good because you’ve helped someone – or even what ‘serves your purpose’ are worth paying attention to.

All this said because someone sent me an email.

Obviously yes, I respond. But that’s part of my Hebe thing: I believe in being of service in this world. It works for me.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Transitory Times

 Image based on a photo of a Westclox Big Ben clock taken by JVGJ

When I was teaching myself astrology, one of the things which fascinated me the most (and which still fascinates me) is how planetary cycles overlap and mark significant passages in our lives.

Learning transits – and the clockwork nature of planetary transits – helped me understand why life works as it does. Why people develop as they do. Why certain age groups go through what they go through.

Your chart is individual to you, yes. But there are also transits we each experience at particular age – like the famous Saturn returns at during year 29, again just before we’re 60 and increasingly, yet again just a bit shy of reaching age 90.

Like I say, there are many transits which are famous with astrologers. But there are one set – a confluence of three – that are SO famous that even mainstream society knows about them. Society calls them “The Mid Life Crisis.” Astrologers know them as Uranus opposition Uranus, Neptune square Neptune and Pluto square Pluto.

As a young and naive astrologer, I dutifully read all about this fearsome trio and dreaded the day I would get there.

And then that day arrived, and I realized – even in the middle of the muddle – that this was a period all about getting more real and realistic with ourselves about life.

The best quip anyone ever used to ‘define’ Uranus opposition Uranus was when they said it was like the ‘flipping of a record.’ For those of you born in the post-vinyl era, this may not make sense, and I’d say that it was like flipping a flapjack except flapjacks don’t have grooves. There’s a quality to the Uranus opposition where we experience our turning ourselves entirely around. What once didn’t seem to be important suddenly strikes us as vital. What once seemed terribly important comes to be anywhere between secondary to totally senseless.

Pluto square Pluto is a life challenge. For many of us, something outlives its function. Or we meet up with a defeat. Pluto’s symbolism is a process which reveals where our drives, fascinations and cravings are less about what we’re chasing and more about our inner vulnerabilities and sense of lack.

And when Pluto square Pluto gets tough, it’s that lack which rears up and bites us.

This is not to say this time can’t represent a victory – it can. But when and where we are victorious, it is because we have proven to ourselves (not to others) that who we are at our core is not merely truly worth our own respect, but the real deal.

Pluto square Pluto will often ‘out’ us to ourselves about the lies we’re living. And yes – sometimes the trick is to know the denial from the real deal truth. But then, that’s Pluto square Pluto all over.

Whatever that means is your business. And whatever you learn at this point in your life, you’re unlikely to ever forget.

Neptune square Neptune involves a test of your willingness to feel your own feelings about life, about who you are (or have been) in life, and how courageous you are (or aren’t) when push comes to shove and life asks whether you’re going to give in and resign yourself to compromising something about who you are or whether you’re going to stand up for who you believe you really are.

Or should be, if you could get past all that reluctance - which is often what Neptune square Neptune is about: an event or situation which does get you past your reluctance by imposing the logic of necessity is the mother of invention.

So my mid-life transits came and went…and as I went on working with clients and studying the charts of my friends I realized that their mid-life crisis transits didn’t come up in the same sequence as mine did.
In fact, for some of them, it wasn’t even close.

Mind you, I’ve been thinking about this on and off for probably over a decade. Then I finally sat down and diagramed it all out.

So....what exactly are you looking at?

Starting with January 1st of the 4th year of every decade, I took the positions of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and then went to look at when said planet hit the degree of the square – or in Uranus’ case, the opposition.

The question I asked was ‘how old would this person be at that point?’

What this tells us is part of why generations differ. And how they differ. The big “difference” being Pluto with that difference entirely due to Pluto’s highly elliptical orbit, what we find is that there are generations (the 1924-born Pluto in Cancer group and those born in the 2000s) where Pluto isn’t in the mid-life crisis equation.

This suggests that the ‘crisis’ point (which is ‘our’ crisis, not a world crisis of course!) really is about who we think we are – which is the Uranus part of the deal. But apart from that, the fact that there are plainly generations who face all these transits at one time. And there are others which get to deal with Pluto somewhere down the line as an entirely separate issue.

As someone born in the mid 50s, I know these transits hit me pretty much all at once. Then I look at my father’s 1920s set-up and know from the ages implied that they correspond both to his two broken marriages and the rise and fall of his rather stellar career.

Then I ask…’how close is close?’ How close do these transits have to be in order for them to manifest in our lives as a period when we just feel like nothing lets up?

That, I don’t know. But I can tell you that having known a bunch of people who fall in the ‘I was born during the 60s or 70s’ barrel, to have Pluto’s square falling before your Uranus opposition seems to be all about the chance of doing it wrong before you get it right.

At the moment, it is this ‘I was born during the 1970s’ group which is in the middle of their mid-life transits. As you’ll notice on the graph, their Uranus oppositions are a bit ‘pushed back.’ Imaged by the green blocks, the pattern of the age at which we hit our Uranus opposition is a nice ‘s’ curve (or sine wave, if you prefer) ranging between age 38 and 44, and people of the 1970s vintage are pretty near the top end of this range.

So they’ve already gone through their Pluto square. That happened (on the average) two years ago – in 2011. They either changed something or something changed for them. And now they’re moving into the period of the Neptune square – a time which is often confusing or which evokes insecurities depending on how truly realistic you are. Or how well you understand the difference between what life really is and how things really work as opposed to how you want it to work.

Or what you’re hoping you won’t have to face.

Or face up to.

The particulars in this come from where Neptune falls (natally and by transit) in your individual chart, of course. But as a theory, those born in the earliest part of the 1970s are feeling the Neptune fuzziness, those born in the mid-1970s are about to get fuzzed and those born at the end of the 1970s have a year or so to wait before the fuzzing begins.

When I look at this chart it suggests to me things like why those born in the 1920s have been nicknamed ‘the greatest generation.’ They didn’t get to the fuzzy and confusing parts of life or the realization they were on the wrong track until they were already in their 40s and life didn’t change the nature of their playing field at a core level until their early 50s. When I think of this as the generation which stayed in their marriages and who worked so hard to build the world they were living in, that makes sense to me as part of the home-hearth-cultural bent of Pluto in Cancer.

With their Pluto-before-Neptune-and-Uranus set up, I look at this chart and see the Pluto in Virgo Yuppies and the early part of Gen X / Pluto in Libra) having hit economic turbulence just when they bought into mortgages and debt loads as part of the cosmic process which will evolve (once they get through the Neptune square and Uranus opposition) into better understandings of the ‘them’ versus ‘the me.’ It’s always fascinated me that the Pluto in Virgo Yuppie challenge is so very much about learning the value of universality (as opposed to my possessions, my wealth, my whatever else) and that the generation immediately following (Gen X / Pluto in Libra) needs to learn more about being who they are as individuals without the branding, grouping and logo’ing.

I look at this chart and I see that by the time the latter part of the Pluto in Sagittarius Millennial tribe reaches their mid-life crisis time (around the year 2044) we will be back to a pattern which in looks is very much like that of the 1920s. Yet with the source energy being Pluto in Sagittarius, this group isn’t going to be about building the world, they’re going to be about making it work.

(Again, yes.)

Then I look at the pattern for those being born now and in the near future, the Pluto in Capricorn kids. They will experience the Uranus opposition and Neptune square at the same time, rather like those born in the mid-1960s did. And it’ll fall right around age 40, probably a little shy of that (making this a projection for around the year 2054). But their Pluto square? That doesn’t happen…give or take…until they’re sixty-two.

To me this speaks of the dawning of realistic space travel and the rehabilitation of our Earth from the perspective of a race which has learned better.

And that says a lot of very good things…and very tough things.

It’s of course to remember that these patterns have repeated countless times. The last time we had a ‘no Pluto square until age sixty-two’ generation would be one Pluto cycle back from January 1914 – or in the year 1767. So what happened 62-odd years later? That was the late 1820s, a time when the world (which is to say, the humans of this world) were redefining the map on a national (astrologically, Capricorn) level. It was a time when established trades were putting their abilities to work building (i.e., creating the Capricorn structure) which would lay in a provisional framework our modern world would one-half Pluto cycle later (Pluto in Cancer) grow out of.

And that’s the other thing I think about when I look at that diagram of transits. I think about how this moment we’re living in – the year 2013 – is the ‘mid-life crisis’ point for things which were set up in the 1970s. The 1970s was when lawyers and ‘things legal’ moved from necessity to a level of glamor and power. And forty years later, I think we’re seeing both the good and the not-so-good in that. The 1970s was when health care moved from the friendly family doctor who took care of most everything (and who you paid for yourself) to corporate medicine and soaring costs and the nightmare which health insurance has become.

We don’t know what will happen with those problems yet. But we do know that the Pluto square to that time would have come before a Uranus opposition which hasn’t happened yet.

But I think we all know something is about to give – which demonstrates rather well that on the astrological level you can look to any point in time and see where it will evolve from there.

Yes, all of life is transitory.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mars in the Cross-Hairs

Image developed from a picture of Mars taken by NASA's
Viking I spacecraft on February 22, 1980

The ever-lovable NASA sent out a circular today. It's title:

Collision Course?

 A Comet Heads for Mars


(Yes, that's a link, in case you want to read the whole thing.)


The comet, which NASA refers to by the cozy name C2013 A1 is reportedly 1-to-3 kilometers in diameter. And NASA being NASA, they're hopping to the launch pad to get something sent off to Mars in time to be there should such a collision really occur.


Their question is pretty obvious: what would the impact of such an object do to Mars as a planet? Considering Mars is a bit over half the size of our beloved Planet Earth it's not like the whole planet is going to crumble or anything. But NASA is tapping its metaphysical (more like digital) pencil, wondering what such a smack will do to...say, Mars' magnetic field, which unlike Earth's cozy swaddling blanket is already a splintered and somewhat chaotic thing - which as an astrologer strikes me as interesting. Do the differing nature of planetary magnetic fields 'color' their astrological meanings? Neptune and Jupiter both have huge magnetic effects, and their astro-metaphysical effects reflect that.


This strikes me as a subject worth looking into (after I catch up with everything else which needs doing. But I'll get there!)


In the meantime, do we know where the radiant of this comet is? Apparently not. So far the only thing I've been able to find out with regards to the Comet 2013's orbit is that it's closest point to the Sun (the perihelion point) is at 1.39957 astronomical units, which puts it just a bit inside the perihelion point of asteroid Atlantis (a point which challenges us to give up what we know and think we want so that we can find that thing which will really fulfill us)...and just outside Mars' perihelion point.


I've also found out that JPL (the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California) has Comet 2013 A1 already listed as Siding Spring, which when you look that up leads to this:


That mountain in the distance with the building sitting on top of it is Siding Spring Mountain - and the building is the central structure of the Siding Spring Observatory complex. (photo credit: Diceman, Feb 2009) 


Which if you do a bit of reading turns out to be one of Australia's best known observatories, a facility which includes the SkyMapper Telescope....

 SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory (photo credit: Iridia, May 2009)


....which causes me to wonder if (by any metaphysical happenstance) this particular observatory will be particularly active in the 2014 Mars Watch.


Oh yes...2014 is when Comet Siding Spring is supposed to arrive at Mars - as shown by this JPL-generated image of it's path conjuncting Mars:


 diagram courtesy of JPL's Small Object Database orbital generator


So you have some perspective, here's another orbital diagram - one which shows where the comet is right now.


 diagram courtesy of JPL's Small Object Database orbital generator


Also...just so you know, the date shown is a tiny bit off. Not the 'today' date, but that October 2014 date should be October 19, 2014 as the 'closest approach' date. (I should have looked up the date before working with the generator.)


So what's happening on that date if we look at it from the astrological perspective?


Here's the chart:


 October 19, 2014 - 00:17 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries wheel (location not specific)


The bad news is that this looks like a moment when it's easy to be upset...and which on the other side is one when there may be people trying to upset everybody else. Eris/South Node in Aries with Mars as ruler of Aries in Sagittarius conjunct Ras Alhague (healing versus harm) and Circe (the ability to fall under someone's spell) makes this look a bit like one of those moments when 'pronouncements' get made.


With Eris conjunct Pandora and Pelion, this could be a time of much hope. Pelion is 'the mountain' from which we get the idea of 'much' hope and the hope part is what Pandora is about: holding on to hope amidst many bad, difficult and scary things.


Then again, someone may be trying to unbalance things by promising something or warning about something so that people can have hope. And oh, do people tend to fall for threats veiled in the promise of 'how to survive.' Or 'get ahead.' Or 'save what you have.'


All that.


And there is the idea that this chart has Eris at the 'tail' of a kite. That means the Eris Effect - 'being shaken' - is what we're supposed to do.


So think about how to 'shake it up,' folks. Evidently life wants us to get a few nuts out of our tree. Or the tree, depending.


Whatever this is about, it would seem to have it's starting point during the latter part of May of 2014, that being when the South Node will come within orb of discordant Eris in the weeks after a Solar Eclipse at 8 Taurus, a sensitive degree which is highly defensive and not extremely quick to react.


The heart of 2014 - all of it - is going to be a time when transiting Uranus is square transiting Pluto, equaling change, lest you be changed. This is a repeating theme in celestial doings which at the moment is being seen in Uranus and Pluto and being set off by a series of Solar Eclipses which began in 2013, all of which will be in Taurus or Scorpio.


To put it directly (and maybe a bit lightly) this is a celestial call for us to get off our duff. We are neither 'all that' nor should we be thinking we are. There is always something bigger than we are.


And come October of 2014, that may well reach the planetary level.


Oh yes...and just as a political note, isn't October 2014 a month shy of Election Day for those in the United States?


The curious part about this October 2014 chart is the position of Pluto. Did you notice it? In this chart, Pluto is at 11 Capricorn.


Guess where Pluto is now.


Yes, 11 Capricorn.


So what we are seeing in this evolution is 'how big' the stakes can get. And we have the opportunity to change things - and to change our lives - right here, right now. No, it won't be easy. But evidently (considering this is Pluto we're talking about) it's necessary.


If we were to think of Mars as a planet not wanting to get smacked by an asteroid (even though Mars knows Mars will survive), how does that translate into our daily lives? 


That would seem to be the metaphysical question.